Ministerial Statement Kava Licensing Issues
Tabled paper 2012
Tabled Papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Timothy Baldwin
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9 However as the draft report indicates there are strong reservations that kava does replace alcohol or even petrol sniffing. The committee was told that certainly in some communities kava was used as an adjunct to alcohol and contributed to multi-drug abuse. But the committee did not hear any evidence to suggest that kava use reduced alcohol-related offending in Arnhem Land - in fact it was the opposite: one survey conducted over more than two years showed the percentage of alcohol- related offences were higher in kava using areas than non-kava areas. As to kava and petrol sniffing, it was put to the committee that while in one community petrol sniffing was all but eliminated, in another it lead to an epidemic of petrol sniffing among the children mainly due to parental kava drinking leading to child neglect. But if the suggestion is that it is a substitute for alcohol and the violence that often accompanies alcohol misuse, can we afford all the other consequences of kava just to achieve a quiet life? Is the lesser of two evils a valid argument when the abuse of both kava and alcohol cause such enormous health and social problems? I find the contention that if we ban kava, then communities will resort to alcohol or petrol sniffing or some other aberrant behaviour to be extremely patronising.